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42 Essential Business Glossary Terms

Here are some of the most common terms and acronyms used in business. In addition, our glossary contains the most common phrases and jargon used together with the definition of what it means.

Some acronyms have different meanings outside of the world of business.

Marketing Glossary

Above The Line

Above-the-line advertising cover campaigns using mass media such as TV, radio, and online channels targeting a broad audience.

Below The Line

Below-the-line marketing comprises more tactical campaigns such as direct mail, email, and sponsorship opportunities.


Your brand connects your company name, visual design, staff interactions with customers, communication materials, and how you act. Combining all of these identifies your products and uniquely differentiates you from your competitors.

Our marketing guide covers branding in more depth, including easy to implement communications and promotional ideas.

Cash Cow

The term Cash Cow derives from the Boston Consulting Group Matrix for a product or service that has a high market share in a mature market. As a result, it’s often the most profitable product in a company’s portfolio and nurtured to provide the maximum returns possible.

Direct Marketing

The process describes the communication directly to the end consumer via postal services, telephone, online or direct to their door in person.

Electronic Commerce

Also termed e-commerce is the provision of products sold on the internet.

Gantt Chart

A Gantt Chart is a pictorial view of a project plan that also shows the critical path.


Marketing is the process of identifying, and satisfying customer needs at a profit. Read more about this subject with a concise marketing definition.

Marketing Plan

A marketing plan is a written document containing an organisation’s core marketing strategies, tactics and action programmes for a planning period.

Financial Terms


An asset is the value of something you or a company owns.

Balance Sheet

A Balance Sheet is a financial statement detailing a company’s assets and liabilities at a certain period.


Bookkeeping is the process of writing up a company’s accounts. Daily transactions get recorded into formal books, Excel spreadsheets or accounting software.

Break-Even Analysis

Break-even analysis is a technique used to calculate when revenues exactly match the costs incurred from generating the revenue. The results show the volume required to cover all fixed costs and associated variable costs from each revenue product.


A budget is a financial projection of income and expenditure for a period in the future.

Cash Flow

A cash flow is a financial projection of the company’s income and expenditure based upon when monies transact through the bank account. This forecast is different from a Profit and Loss Account, which records the date products become sold or costs incurred.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a summary of a company’s opportunities for growth. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.


Liability is the value of something a company or person owes at a particular time.

Business Acronyms

  • ATL – Above the Line.
  • BTL – Below the Line.
  • B2B – Business to Business.
  • B2C – Business to Consumer.
  • BoE – Bank of England.
  • CEO – Chief Executive Officer.
  • CFO – Chief Financial Officer.
  • CRM – Client Relationship Management.
  • EBITDA – Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation, and Amortisation.
  • ERM – Exchange Rate Mechanism.
  • FCA – Financial Conduct Authority.
  • FSA – Financial Services Authority.
  • FTE – Full-Time Equivalent.
  • FTSE – Financial Times Stock Exchange.
  • GDP – Gross Domestic Product.
  • GP – Gross Profit.
  • JIT – Just in Time.
  • MBO – Management Buy-Out.
  • NIC – National Insurance Contributions.
  • OFT – Office of Fair Trading.
  • P&L – Profit and Loss.
  • PAYE – Pay As You Earn.
  • RFI – Request For Information.
  • SWOT – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.
  • VAT – Value Added Tax.